Trailer Blazer: 'Tropic Thunder'

Tropicthunder_lMy beef with Ben Stiller (as a director) has always been that he’s brilliant at pop culture parodies but not at the parts of his movies (or the old Fox Ben Stiller Show) that are about actual human characters interacting. I fear that’s what’s going to happen with Tropic Thunder, whose trailer (playing at the film’s official website) begins as a dead-on parody of every Vietnam movie trailer you’ve ever seen before it devolves into standard farce about clueless showbiz egotists. Similarly, the idea of Robert Downey Jr. as an Oscar-winning star who dons blackface to play a role written for a black actor sounds like a bold satirical idea on paper, but seeing it executed here makes me wonder if the joke in its execution is really on target. The only one here bringing the crazy in a way that makes me want to see more of what’s up Stiller’s sleeve is a hilarious Nick Nolte. Otherwise, I’m afraid Tropic Thunder may turn into precisely the kind of bloated action monstrosity that it’s making fun of.

Anyone here think Stiller, Downey, and Co. can pull this off? Or is this Aug. 15 release doomed to flail and sputter out in the late-summer movie jungle?

Comments (22 total) Add your comment
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  • keiren63

    ROBERT DOWNEY JR!!! I’ll find a few moments worth watching.

  • Joel

    This looks awful.

  • Ep Sato

    Robert Downey in the “black guy in the platoon” role would only work if they had a Black actor doing the “racist southern white guy in the platoon” role.
    For example, they could have Orlando Jones or Dave Chappelle do a parody of Kevin Dillon’s role from Platoon.
    I like Stiller in small snippets, but have never felt he could really carry a movie on his own…for example, that last flick he made about the ex-cokehead blonde and the loser who marries her was awful. In contrast, his cameo in Anchorman was awesome!

  • monica

    i didn’t think the trailer was hilarious, but then again after watching the trailer for the heartbreak kid i thought it would be and it wasn’t. so maybe all the really good parts are in the film. as for downey jr.’s blackface, i am black, but i was still laughing uncontrollably at his stupidity. not even a little offended.

  • junior

    I think a movie solely with Robert Downey Jr. in black face would have been funnier than this. And I’m black (I’m gonna put that on a t-shirt one day).

  • Rich

    Actually, in the trailer it looks like Downey is hauling around a whole lot of Golden Globes, not Oscars. That is a telling detail.

  • Amanda

    Robert Downey Jr. is what takes this trailer from “pretty funny” to “frickin’ hilarious.” Must see, for sure.

  • Jason

    This looks pretty good to me. I reserve final judgement for after I’ve actually seen it, but this really has potential.

  • nathan

    I’ll be in line opening weekend, looks like a lot of fun.

  • Amber

    I’ll watch anything with Robert Downey Jr.

  • Laura

    I’ve suitably intrigued – maybe not enough for opening weekend, but definitely for the theatrical run.

  • B Ro

    What magic genie continues to allow Ben Stiller to make movies? Saving Private Ryan was a funnier war movie than this pile of crap. Please Hollywood stop funding this guy.

  • BL

    I think this movie looks very funny and I can’t wait for it to come out.

  • Andrew B

    can’t wait to see this movie…when’s the “R-rated” trailer coming?!

  • actingup

    I am totally flabbergasted that Ben Stiller has the career he has…he does the exact same thing in every movie. I can take him for about 2 minutes and then he just annoys me. And the movie also has Jack Black -and I dislike him for the exact same reason.
    There are so many talented, funny women here in Hollywood – I would like to see more of them behind and in front of the camera. But it is so hard to break into the all boys club. Sad – it is 2008 and still the majority of roles available are for men. I am so sick of all these “frat boy” movies (see any film with Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Seth Rogen, etc).

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